Do you beat yourself up over things that don’t really matter? Compare yourself to others, only to come up short? If you’re feeling like you’re never good enough, you are in good (and plentiful) company.
Isn’t it ironic that everyone plays the comparison game, and usually feels alone, less-than and insufficient by the end? While you lament not measuring up to someone you deem to be greater than you, someone else is lamenting not measuring up to you. We all do it…and all in an effort to feel “good enough.”
The fear of never being good enough shows up in a variety of ways: comparisons, becoming a workaholic or over-achiever, perfectionism, procrastination, avoidance, and not completing things you start.
Such heavy and costly efforts for something that can’t be defined or proven because it simply “is.” The elusive “good enough” is already there.
You are already good enough.
And yet, no amount of telling yourself this is going to make you feel that way.
So why — with all your wonderful, unique qualities — does your inner critic come out on top? Why does it insist on convincing you that you are an imposter and leave you feeling like you’re never good enough?
The roots are in childhood. A child wants only to be loved and will internalize its parents’ problems and the responsibility for fixing them. Feeling loved becomes directly linked to the (unrealistic) ability to accomplish this.
Inevitably, “I couldn’t fix it, so I’m not good enough” insidiously takes root, and grows with the child into adult versions of the same message.
The need, therefore, becomes to unravel this internalized survival instinct so that you become empowered to change your own life.
There are several steps you can take to interrupt your negative thoughts and feeling like you’re never good enough. But the most important step is to question the very definition of “enough”. Your inner critic tosses the word around with unbridled negativity, but have you ever paused long enough to define it?
What would your life look like if you were “good enough”? Would you weigh less? Have more? Do something different? Never make a mistake?
Ask the question. What would your life look like if you were “good enough”?
And then listen, without attachment, to the voice within and to the wound that is there.
What answers do you get when you ask yourself to define the standard of “good enough”? Why would your inner voice say this?
If you travel by air, you are familiar with the routine security questions about your baggage. “Has anyone given you anything not belonging to you? Has your baggage been under your supervision the entire time?” Think about what you may be carrying around that doesn’t even belong to you…and unload it.
Remember that whoever taught you that you weren’t good enough did so only because he or she didn’t feel good enough. Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. Give your “baggage” back to whoever packed it in the first place, or at least stop lugging it around.
“Don’t believe everything you think.” Cut the cord to your thoughts, and make the choice not to believe the negative ones. Do you believe everything you hear out in the world? Then don’t believe everything you hear in your own head.
Remember that there is more right than wrong with you. What do you like about yourself? Keep those beautiful gifts at the forefront of your thinking. You need them…and so does the world.
Stay in the present. Breathe into it, meditate upon it, accept it, and make peace with it. Living in the past or the future invites criticism — the breeding ground for feeling like you’re never good enough. It also creates dissatisfaction with what you have: the present. And the present, like you, is good enough.
Allow yourself to receive love and understanding from others when feeling you least deserve it. This is precisely when you most need these gifts.
And finally, allow mistakes and be self-forgiving. If forgiving yourself seems like a tall order at the moment, start by forgiving whoever taught you that mistakes aren’t acceptable and that you were never good enough.
You are on a journey of discovery, not perfection. There is no “good enough” to look for or prove; it is already there, waiting to be lived.
If you would like support in working through your feelings of not being good enough, please reach out to us. We are here to help.